The average public school student-to-counselor ratio for the 2015-16 school year was 464-to-1. That’s nearly double the 250-to-1 ratio recommended as a ceiling by the American School Counselor Association, and each of those students needs personalized attention that typically spans years. College admission recruiters recognize the challenge counselors face, know what’s at stake, and have important tips college counselors need to know to save time and avoid missteps.
Advice from a College Admission Recruiter
It’s no exaggeration to say that college counselors race the clock. If you have the average number of students to serve, you help 464 kids pick classes and extracurricular activities, overcome the hurdles and headaches of mapping a path to college, and deal with the intricacies of college admission, financial aid, and scholarship applications. It’s a process that takes years and is best started early.
It helps to have an edge when so much hangs in the balance and the odds, or ratios, are stacked against you. So here are some important tips for college counselors from a USF admission recruiter:
On Sending Documents to Prospective Colleges
The river of paperwork that counselors help students funnel to college admissions offices is useless if it doesn’t flow into the proper filing cabinets. To ensure those transcripts, résumés, letters of recommendation, and standardized test scores get in the right hands:
- Ensure that a properly completed college application is on file with the target schools. Without the application, the rest is useless.
- Be sure the name on the student’s documents matches the name on the application.
- When sending electronic transcripts, save the confirmation number and the date the transcripts were sent.
- Sending important documents such as transcripts as certified mail means you will be alerted when it is received and told by whom.
- Be sure to write the correct address and office number on any mailed items.
On Communicating with Admissions Offices
College counselors must help students navigate a sea of red tape, rules, and regulations when it comes to communicating with admissions offices, not the least of which is the federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act.
It’s called FERPA, and it dictates who can access a student’s records and how. Counselors need to familiarize themselves with the law and how to work within it.
The person offering these tips is a USF admission recruiter, so the quote that follows is USF-centric, but it’s applicable to any school that receives federal funding.
"At USF due to FERPA, our call center representatives are only able to provide you with basic information regarding the admission process and answer any questions you have that do not specifically pertain to an individual student record. In order to have these more sensitive conversations, please contact the USF admission recruiter for your territory.” Also:
- It is preferable that you contact the admission recruiter while the student is present.
- Have the student’s university identification information available.
On Top Advice for Students and Counselors
In addition to telling your students to apply to their target schools early and submit all necessary documents on time, remember these tips on helping students connect to their target schools, particularly USF:
- USF admission decisions are made on a rolling basis. The sooner an application is received and completed, the sooner USF will be able to provide the student a decision on admission and financial aid information.
- Make sure to develop a relationship with the USF admission recruiters for your territory. Email generally is preferable because recruiters spend a lot of time on the road.
About Karina Acevedo
Karina Acevedo is a former Digital Recruiter for USF’s Office of Innovative Education. She’s passionate about helping students and their families navigate the admissions process by offering insight and providing easy-to-understand answers to sometimes complex questions.